Well, 70 jars to be exact. About a year ago, I made a doodle, titled: “Things I wish I could put in a bottle… (to have when I want — like pickles, only better) (or put away when I want).” At first the things I put into jars were tangible things, like a crescent moon, a geranium seedling, etc…. and then I thought, What if I could bottle intangible things… like a crush, or a hug from a best friend…. and I realized, that in fact, what I wanted to do, was to put memories into jars. Consequently, when I take a “jar” off of the shelf, open it, and take it out… I can remember everything about that moment. I go to that place in time where I felt, saw, touched, smelled and heard what I experienced there and then, and am able to re-construct it in the present. The kernel of this idea sprouted into the story, For Keeps, that I wrote last summer where I portrayed my protagonist, Nathaniel, as a collector. In that story Nathaniel collects jars full of abstract things like, “worry that I’m not doing enough”, and things too big to ever fit in a jar, like “a murmuration of starlings” … but somehow, some way, he did.
So… when I went to New York last week, I challenged myself to journal this way. I collected small moments of my time in NYC into jars. Being in New York gave me an itch to explore… to get lost in big beautiful cities…. to give me an opportunity, not only to stumble upon the perfect cafe just as it was about to pour, but to stumble upon parts of myself that I didn’t even know were there. See below my jars: the memories from exploring New York and attending the national SCBWI conference. Here’s to collecting small moments, holding them in our hands, and paying attention to what moves us.